Hannah Waiters: The Tree Closes Exhibit at Marin MOCA Thru December 23
Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Time: Wednesday - Friday 11:00am - 4:00pm and Saturday - Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm
Hannah Waiters's site-determined project, The Tree Closes, attends to historical forces emerging at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama and shaped by experiences in the West. At the height of Jim Crow segregation, Black American airmen (Red Tails) who trained under Tuskegee were relocated to bases in Marin County during the Second World War. Hesitantly hosted across the county, in buildings styled in a Spanish Colonial Revival style that idealized Puritan heritage, these airmen analogized Black American futurity on a broader scale.
The Tree Closes explores shifting attitudes within Black education in Northern California as a portal for understanding Black collective pedagogical models that spread from the South across the country in the mid-20th century. The project explores gaps in Marin's historical account of Black Tuskegee veteran pilots and intellectuals in the Bay Area in the wake of WWII, drawing attention to widespread neglect of the histories of marginalized communities within American cultural institutions. Care for bees and the cultivation of bee hives -- skills central to early Tuskegee Institute education -- take the fore in The Tree Closes. Through images and hand-crafted bee boxes in the gallery as well as bee-lining workshops and a public conversation with Red Tail veterans, Waiters uplifts early Black independent education methods and their role as emblems of civic equality for African Americans.